The ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is gradually moving towards its business end with defending champions Mumbai Indians leading the points table with four wins from their first six games.
Other three teams in the top half of the table are Delhi Capitals, who’ve also won four games so far but have played a game less than MI. Three teams are currently tied on 6 points — KKR, SRH, and RCB — with the run rate keeping them apart.
Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals have won two games each while KXIP stays rooted with just one win from a possible six. With the tournament reaching its halfway mark, here is one change that every franchisee should make to keep their aspirations alive.
Delhi Capitals: Dhawan out, Rahane in
Veteran batsman Shikhar Dhawan hasn’t had the best of the outings so far in the tournament, despite Delhi Capitals’ recent success in the tournament. The 34-year-old has scored just 127 runs from the first five games, including a duck in the first game of the season.
His recent form with the Indian team has also been a concern, with KL Rahul opening the innings alongside Rohit Sharma. Considering the tournament’s long schedule, Ajinkya Rahane deserves a nod ahead of Dhawan in the playing XI. He has yet to feature in the tournament this season. DC is playing a good but Rahane inclusion with adding more depth to their batting line-up.
Kings XI Punjab: Maxwell out, Gayle in
Glenn Maxwell might be a big, big player for KXIP but his form so far in the ongoing IPL has been a massive liability. KXIP have won just one game so far and their batting line-up has been overly reliant on the opening combination of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.
This is probably the right time to replace Maxwell and Chris Gayle is the perfect player to take his place, and who knows, it might actually work out for them. The 41-year-old, Gayle, also hasn’t played a game in the season.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Tom Banton/Chris Green in, Sunil Narine out
Sunil Narine hasn’t been able to replicate his IPL 2019 form in IPL 2020, so far. He has failed to notch up runs with the bat and has been fairly expensive with the bat. Moreover, KKR might’ve won three games but they haven’t been massively convincing in the tournament so far.
England batsman Tom Banton or Australia all-rounder Chris Green might change that scenario, with both youngsters yet to feature in the tournament. Since KKR won’t drop Andre Russell, Narine is the ideal choice to sit out in some games.
Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad in, Kedar Jadhav out
Kedar Jadhav has faced a lot of criticism for his slow batting approach and his ability to get runs. So far, he hasn’t been able to contribute with the bat and has wasted a lot of deliveries in the death overs.
Ruturaj Gaikwad could come into the line-up in place of Jadhav. The youngster has already played a couple of games this season but it didn’t work out for him, mainly due to his problems with COVID-19.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Morris in, Isuru Udana out
Chris Morris, for the past couple of years, has been one of the most in-demand all-rounders due to his exploits with both, bat and ball. He has already missed five games of the season for RCB, due to an injury, but he is ready to make the playing XI for their game against CSK on Saturday.
Isuru Udana hasn’t done much wrong but Chris Morris provides a better option with bat and ball due to his experience.
Mumbai Indians: Nathan Coulter-Nile in, James Pattinson out
James Pattinson, so far, has bowled economically well and has bagged plenty of wickets. However, a lot of cricket is left to be played in the tournament, and its the right time to get some rest and charge the batteries.
Mumbai Indians have a good bench strength, with players like Nathan Coulter-Nile yet to feature in the tournament. Coulter-Nile can contribute equally well with both, bat and bowl, and it’s probably the right time to hand him a place in the starting XI.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Vijay Shankar in, Manish Pandey out
SRH have had their fair share of troubles with both, bat and ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been ruled out for the tournament and bowlers have leaked a lot of runs. Plus their middle-order is very inexperienced. Vijay Shankar can contribute to both the department and should come in to replace Manish Pandey, who has been massively disappointing.
Rajasthan Royals: Ben Stokes in, Andrew Tye out
Ben Stokes’ quarantine ends on Saturday as he arrived late in the UAE. RR has now lost four of their first six games and has a huge mountain to climb. Ben Stokes is the kind of player who can win you games with talismanic performances in both the departments.
He’s been badly missed in the dugout and is expected to get in the squad right away but he hasn’t had any practice sessions. Nonetheless, if he gets a nod in, Andrew Tye is likely to miss out.